Senior Sarah Bates of Clovis West drives to the basket past Clovis High’s Morgan Powell. The Golden Eagle are currently ranked No. 2 in the state by Cal-Hi Sports and No. 5 in the nation by USA Today. (Christian Ortuno/Clovis Roundup)
By Paul Meadors | Sports Editor
In a season where so much has gone right, there’s been no let-up recently for the girls of Clovis West basketball.
In the span of 14 days, from Jan. 21 through Feb. 4, the nation’s No. 5 ranked team by USA Today and Cal-Hi Sports No. 2, played a total of seven games, quite a stretch for a team that’s already played a loaded schedule.
Oh yeah, they won all seven by an average of 41 points.
Three of those games were Saturday home non-conference games, set up by head Coach Craig Campbell to keep the team sharp. Four of those games were league games, against Clovis East (92-16) on the road, Clovis (73-30) at home, Clovis North (77-52) on the road and at Central (67-46).
The three Saturday games were against Troy of Fullerton (78-51), Heritage of Brentwood (75-37) and Stockdale-Bakersfield (94-24).
How does a team stay focused throughout the process? In a long season with so much ebb and flow, how does a team keep their eye on the prize?
“It starts with me,” said coach Campbell, who has lead the Golden Eagles to seven Central Section titles in 12 total years. “I can’t ask of them what I don’t expect of myself – I must model what I expect.”
And speaking of expectations, a big question leading to the Central game was how they would respond after being challenged in their first matchup at home, a 62-58 win that wasn’t clinched until under two minutes in the fourth quarter after a steal and layup by senior Bre’yanna Sanders, who was nominated for the McDonald’s High School All-American Game.
Well, the answer? They came out like gangbusters in the first half and blitzed the Grizzlies (14-10, 3-4) racing out to a 34-10 halftime lead. The second half was more competitive as Central actually outscored Clovis West 36-33, much to the chagrin of Coach Campbell.
“We spent a lot of time on our defensive and rebounding principles,” Campbell said about his team’s adjustments from their previous game that saw them outrebounded mightily. “When we applied them we were terrific, but late in the 3rd quarter, when we lost our focus, those principles escaped us again.”
Campbell praised the play of Danae Marquez (“handled the tempo and created for others”), Sarah Bates and Megan Anderson (“played really good perimeter defense”) and Bre’yanna Sanders (“held down the paint defensively in the first half”). Scoring-wise they were led by Tess Amundsen (16), Marquez (12) and Bates (11).
To close out the first half of TRAC play, Clovis came in with a 4-0 league and 20-2 overall record. Using their signature swarming defense and pinpoint shooting, Clovis West was firing on all cylinders; the score was 70-27 after three quarters, and ended in a running fourth quarter and a 73-30 final.
Clovis West was led by Megan Anderson (16), Madison Campbell (15), Bre’yanna Sanders (13), Tess Amundsen (12). Sophomore Michelle Berry led Clovis with 11 points.
Jan. 27 results
Clovis West 73 Clovis 30
Central 62 Clovis East 24
Clovis North 65 Buchanan 37
Jan. 31 results
Clovis 53 Clovis East 33
Clovis West 77 Clovis North 52
Central 61 Buchanan 37
Feb. 3 results
Clovis North 52 Clovis 46
Clovis West 67 Central 46
Buchanan 62 Clovis East 44
Standings as of Feb. 6
Clovis West 7-0
Clovis North 4-3
Clovis East 0-7